Recovering from the 2020 election

It’s over… I should probably talk about this election.

Alright, first: I have a message for my family. The ones living in small towns, rural areas and suburbs in various states in the midwest. Hi! So, I know we’ve gotten into arguments on Facebook over the past four years, and some of us kinda aren’t talking to each other any longer. And I know you keep saying that you care about me, that politics aren’t important. So, I have a question for you: I can bring my girlfriend over for the holidays, right? Can I trust you to vote for candidates who will support gay marriage, in case I propose?

I already know the answer to that one. Which is why I’m laughing about the outcome of this election.

Ok, I don’t want to spend the next four years laughing at Trump supporters. I want Trump supporters to have universal health care, and access to good quality schools, and a clean environment. Like this very positive tweet says.

But to get there, we gotta deal with the disaster of the past four years. There’s a lot to talk about. So, Republicans, centrists, liberals, Democrats, and fellow leftists: listen up. We have a lot of talking to do.

I’m happy that Joe Biden was elected. But I also know that Joe Biden is not some magic fix.

In this video, I’m going to talk about how far right US policies have moved under Trump, the get out the vote efforts by Stacey Abrams and different Native American tribes, why Joe Biden’s policies are lame, how to deal with Democrats, and some ideas for what we can do now— like volunteering to help with Georgia’s runoff election in 2021.

I’m also going to talk about white feelings, not because I think they’re the most important, but because I’m hoping I can change some people’s minds about this. Who knows, maybe some of my conservative family is watching this!

First, there’s one thing liberals and the left have made a mistake on— and this pains me to say— making fun of white people. Yes, I’m saying this as a white, middle class woman, so take whatever I’m about to say with a giant grain of salt. But I think making fun of “angry white men” hasn’t really helped anything. I’ll explain why.

I may be white, but I’m also queer. So, I’ve gotten used to occasionally being asked to explain or justify that label— that is, explain my existence. Am I sure I’m bisexual? Maybe it’s a phase?

There’s a lot of straight, white people out there who have never had to deal with being “the other.” We’ve been handing them labels, like cis and het, and then just expecting them to immediately understand what it has taken us years to adapt to. 

And for someone who’s never been asked to justify their experience or been questioned about the validity of their opinions… I get it. I’ve developed a thick skin, as I assume many other queers have as well. When it comes to race, I think a lot of white people still need to unlearn the warped version of history they’ve been taught. I am not excusing any white person’s racism, but I do think social media is not the best place for discussions about internalized racism to take place.

I’m not asking anyone to do extra emotional labor to explain this stuff to clueless white people. But… I am asking you to quit calling clueless white people “garbage people.” Here, you can tag me in a Twitter thread if you want me to explain something to a clueless white person for you.

For white people listening: look, get over this. It’s not like this is the first time being white was given a label. Remember “WASPs”, White Anglo Saxon Protestants? Being labeled as white isn’t exactly new.

But… Especially after the New York Times hired tech writer Sarah Joeng, I think so-called liberal outlets— like the Times and MSNBC— are using edgy rhetoric about race to hide the fact that they prop up and support politicians who help maintain the current status quo of systemic racism. I have mixed feelings about Joeng’s white-bashing rhetoric— but not because I think she’s racist. 

But I don’t think that using this rhetoric is going to convince white people to examine their own biases, or do any kind of self-reflection. I’m in this to change people’s minds.

So this year, we should call a truce on making fun of white people for being clueless, save the insults for conscious racism, and hopefully win over some people in the process. But I’m not giving racists a pass.

Because one question we’re going to need to answer in the upcoming months: how many people who voted for Trump are MAGAhat, in-your-face, deliberate racists, and how many are people that are… well, whatever the other option is? People who always vote Republican? People still realizing that they miiight be racist? I’m still too angry about Trump to have much empathy for anyone who wore a MAGA hat, but I guess we’ll need to sort this out at some point.

So, from a leftist to my Republican-voting family: I’ll agree to lay off of making fun of white people on Twitter… if I get something from you.

Mainly, we need to agree: the past four years haven’t been normal. At all.
I know, it’s not like a presidential election wasn’t challenged in court before. In 2000, during the George W. Bush vs Al Gore campaign, we had to listen to talk about the design of the butterfly ballot, if it was confusing, and talk about hanging chads in Miami-Dade county… for a month. In the end, it did go to the Supreme Court. Heck, I remember people complaining about voting irregularities in Ohio in 2004, and Hillary Clinton repeating that Trump was an illegitimate president for the past few years.

But… stuff like this, where in Detroit, a bunch of white people shouting “stop the count” in a majority black city…this is an escalation.

Not to mention the current president consistently insisting, on Twitter and in person, that he won? Not to mention his constant rhetoric about voting by mail being fraud? I’m not linking to anything about this, because I’m assuming you either agree with me, or think that Trump is right and the Democrats are stealing the election… with a super crazy narrow margin while losing the Senate. 

Remember: Bush won Florida by a whopping 537 votes, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton all conceded without publicly saying the entire election was a fraud and stolen from them.

Maybe we can drown ourselves in nostalgia for the “normal” times, when outgoing presidents pranked the president-elect by removing the letter “W” from keyboards in the White House, instead of yelling about wanting to start a coup on Twitter.

I’m going to get back to that narrow margin in a bit. But it feels so good to say that our president is a liar, and to realize that about 75 million people agree with me. On any voting fraud? Prove it. Bring the evidence. Because the lawsuits that Trump keeps filing about any so-called election fraud keep getting thrown out for lack of evidence. 

So, to my conservative family: can you admit that… things have gotten.. Weird? Politicians have never been great with being straightforward, but Trump has taken this to just flat out… lying.

Because Trump has moved the Republican’s rhetoric to the right, pretty significantly. Let’s compare Trump to the last Republican president, George W. Bush, and their positions on immigration.

Has anyone else been doing this— constantly double checking things, fact checking everything, just to make sure you’re not imagining things?

First, Bush got the highest percentage of the Hispanic vote for a Republican candidate.

Here’s an increase in university students from Saudi Arabia, because of a program that Bush helped arrange. Remember, this was five years after 9/11.

Here’s Bush supporting an immigration bill in 2007 that ultimately wasn’t successful.

Trump’s immigration policy? Build a wall. The Muslim ban. Which is the opposite of what Bush did. Bush literally had a policy to bring more Saudis, who are Muslim, into the US.

So, to my conservative family: I think you have some reflection to do. 

Now, it’s time for the more important conversation. Democrats? Moderates? Centrists? Yeah, we need to talk.

I know you’re very happy that Biden won. So am I, so is the rest of the planet.

But… this was not the blue wave you were predicting. Even with a candidate as awful as Trump, this election came down to the wire in many states, and was uncomfortably close. 

There’s two takeaways from this election: one, that while Trump is leaving in January, his legacy of bluster and lies and racism might not be going with him. Two: Democrats, you’re going to have to work on dealing with the after effects of Trump. Sure, I think we all want things to get back to normal, but electing Joe Biden isn’t a magic fix for that. It’s going to take hard work.

But: we can’t do that. We can’t just pretend the past four years didn’t happen. There’s about 71 million people out there who might not be racists themselves— but they are completely fine voting for a racist man. And, they’re ok using “whataboutism” arguments to justify their complicit racism. Like I’ve learned that while my family may say they’re not homophobic, they love me no metter what, they’re completely ok voting for homophobic candidates, thereby being complicit in that homophobia.

Like those popular memes say: it’s not enough to just be not racist. You have to be actively against racism.

Democrats? I know I’m just one person, but I think I’m speaking for a lot of queer people, and what I’m assuming is the sentiment of many people of color: we need your help. I can try talking to my family and friends, persuade them that trans and LGBT people deserve civil rights; that systemic racism in law enforcement is real; that we need to protect Native land rights and take climate change seriously. But I’m one person, with a limited amount of power.

So, Democrats? It’s time to stop performing progressive acts— like that embarrassing, kneeling in kente cloth moment— and start being progressive. I mean, you’ve spent the last four years on MSNBC yelling about how terrible Trump is, that the whole Russia scandal was worse than Watergate. Well, if Trump is so terrible… let’s shift the country away from his policies, shall we? If Trump was so bad— act like it. Change things.

I still have trust issues with Democrats taking action , because after voting for John Kerry in 2004 despite his constant semantic games about gay marriage versus civil unions, Kerry STILL lost, and then I woke up to this map the day after the election. Democrats, playing to the middle gets you middling, lame prizes. Like losing elections.

And, since we know Trump shifted the country’s policies to the right… that means we have to go to the left, if we want to get back to normal. We can’t stay this course. We have COVID-19 and climate change to deal with— and those are huge issues we must deal with, instead of rage-tweeting in all caps at each other.

Trump himself may be going away, but his supporters, and unfortunately, a lot of his ideas, are not going to go away as easily. 

Now is not the time for waffling, for playing to the middle. You don’t need to do that, but you need to lead. You need to govern. I’ve been let down by Democrats compromising everything before. Please don’t let me down now! But Democrats? Whatever you do, don’t try to bend over backwards to please a political party that has spent the last four years running roughshod all over common decency. So: no more waffling on things like Native land rights, abortion and birth control, restructing the police department, and immigration.

If we don’t deal with this rot of racism running through our country, we will be doomed to repeat it. We have a lot of messy, difficult work ahead. But it is necessary work.

We cannot just go back to the way things were in 2016. The way things were allowed racism and inequality to flourish and spread. 

We need to remember who we are. Democrats: remember that people like Stacey Abrams organized a massive get-out-the-vote effort in Georgia. Remember that different Native groups organized voter registration efforts. The biggest was likely the Navajo Nation organizing, which helped flip Arizona to blue, but there were other campaigns across the country, including New Mexico and Wisconsin. 

https://navajotimes.com/rezpolitics/election-2020/arizona-flips-navajos-contribute-to-historic-shift/

https://twitter.com/DiinSilversmith/status/1324752536121716736

Because, Democrats, this is who Americans are. Black and Native people have been voting for you, and they delivered this election to you. It is vital to remember them when you are making and passing laws.

Hey, Biden? Maybe you should tear down the wall that was built on Native land!

Also, liberals? Can you remember the progressives and leftists in your party? Because I’m getting real tired of hearing that left-leaning people are a problem for voting for the uninspiring, moderate candidate.

The DNC screwed Bernie Sanders over royally in 2016. The election was rigged. So, Democrats? You want us leftists, us progressives to turn out to the polls? Then embrace us!

Stop complaining about AOC and the squad. They helped flip the House in 2018, and they all won reelection this year.

Instead of blaming AOC, maybe Democrats should really think about why this presidential election was so close? And why the Democrats lost seats in the House? It’s fun to blame “socialism” for this, except that the only people using the word socialism are… well, Fox News, Trump and whiny moderate Democrats.

Too afraid to be too radical and possibly lose the vote the next election? Why are you so afraid? Can you consider that maybe… it’s the middling, unable to commit thing that people dislike about Democrats? Trump may be terrible, but we also knew exactly what we were getting. With Democrats, we get a nice, progressive package, but it’s usually empty inside. And I know it’s hard to be progressive when you have corporate donors to answer to. But if we don’t, what happens?

Environment:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50951043

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54180049

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/california-fire-map-pictures-2020/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54887071

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/photos/hurricanes/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/02/15-ways-trump-administration-impacted-environment/

Remember: this is serious. We have a pandemic plus climate change to deal with. 

Yes, Biden won. Because he was better than the facsist. People aren’t dancing in the street because they are happy about president elect Biden— they want to see Trump gone. 

Do you want me to read a list of lame things Biden has done?

Here I go.

I’ve been saving up my criticism of Biden for months.

First, Biden led the fight against desegregating schools: 1977— fighting for the cause of segregationists.

He helped write a racist Crime Bill and worked with segregationist senators in 1994.

His treatment of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings— for example, allowing her accuser to testify first and not letting women testify about their experiences with Thomas in 1991.

He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which defined marriage as ‘between a man and a woman.”

He voted for the disastrous Iraq War in 2002.

He supported the Hyde Amendment which bans most federal funding for abortions through programs like Medicaid, only changing his position in 2019.

While as vice president to Barack Obama, we saw a massive increase in deportations for immigrants— and let’s not forget who built those cages that went viral during Trump’s presidency.

He still doesn’t support Medicare for all, offering us this “Medicare like plan.” Even during a global pandemic.

Let’s not forget his long history of women accusing him of behaving inappropriately.

I’m not even going to get into Kamala Harris’ record, or her work as a prosecutor in California.

You can accuse me of creating “purity tests,” and I am aware that for someone who has worked in the Senate for as long as Biden has, he’s likely to have some votes and positions that he’s not proud of. But I think that’s a lame way of explaining away a man who does not have a great record on immigration, policing, race issues, women’s health, or the environment.

So Biden hasn’t talked on camera about grabbing women by the pussy. That’s a low fucking bar. I think a lot of Democrats are just so happy that Trump is out of office… that they’re forgetting how uninspiring Biden’s record is. I hope Biden has changed on these issues?

Two things: one, I’m tired of liberals and Democrats accusing leftists of helping people like Trump get into office. You know, it’s possible to criticize Democratic policies without being a Republican. This just plays into the issue of the US only having two political parties. 

Further, maybe more leftists would happily support Democrats consistently… if Democrats actually embraced their lefty and progressive voters? I’m with AOC on this one. The future is to the left.

Two, I’m also not thrilled with how much some leftists attack liberals. Yeah, I get it. A lot of liberal stuff can come across as pandering. But, if we’re trying to advance lefty ideas, maybe just focus our energy on going after liberal ideology and Democratic policies, and not attack the people who believe those things?

Ok. Last note? For leftists:

If we’ve learned anything from the protests and riots this past summer, if we’ve learned anything from the massive get out the vote efforts, is that the best way forward is with direct action and organizing. Yes, I encourage you to write and Tweet your elected officials. But I am also very aware that Democrats are often super ineffective. And I also know that local organizing can have a big impact.

I’m going to put this eye mask on and lie on the floor.

There’s links in the description about how to volunteer in the Georgia runoff elections, both in-person and remote, if you don’t live in Georgia. I also encourage you to find a local group to support— my current favorite is Detroit Will Breathe, which is working to restructure and defend the Detroit Police Department.

Thanks for watching! Leave me a comment if you liked the vid, or share some of the resources to volunteer in Georgia.

Volunteering opprotunities:

Want to help with the Georgia Runoff Elections ? There are are many ways you can help either remotely or in-person. Check them out below! 

For the In Person volunteering you don’t have a to be a Georgia resident but you do need to make your way to Georgia to participate. I’m looking at you friends in Tennessee, Alabama, Northern Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina! 

REMOTE Volunteer Opportunities: 

Join the Ballot Rescue Phone Call Team! ( http://bit.ly/phone-cure ) As a trained Ballot Rescue phone caller, you’ll be in direct contact with Georgia voters to help them fix issues flagged by elections officials with absentee ballots. Every voter you contact is one whose vote may not be counted without your help! 

Be a Voter Protection Digital Ambassador! ( http://bit.ly/vopro-social ) One, two, three, post! Commit to amplifying our voter protection messaging across social media. From time to time we’ll provide you important and accurate voting content — spread the good word! 

IN-PERSON: Volunteer Opportunities: 

1. Join the In-Person Ballot Cure Canvass Team! ( http://bit.ly/door-cure ) As a Ballot Cure Canvasser, you’ll help Georgia voters fix problems with absentee ballots they’ve already submitted to their county’s election office. Every voter you contact is one whose vote may not be counted without your help! We’ll be canvassing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 27th through December 20th, and every day from Saturday, December 26th through Friday, January 8. After you register with your availability, we’ll be back in touch with information about attending a required training before canvassing and other logistical details. 

2. Be a Ballot Processing Monitor and/or Vote Review Panel Member at a County elections office ( http://bit.ly/ballot-process ). You’ll be on call to be at elections offices as officials process and count absentee ballots. County plans for ballot processing and vote review panels vary – we’ll be in touch ASAP when the need arises. 

3. Be a Poll Watcher – http://bit.ly/poll-watch-legacy. Help ensure the integrity of our elections by becoming a poll watcher. You will be placed at voting site on the day of your choosing and report any issues to the Democratic Party of Georgia.

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